Reappraising the ‘Art of Counting’. An international symposium to celebrate 500 years of Cuthbert Tunstall’s De arte supputandi libri quattuor

Reappraising the ‘Art of Counting’. An international symposium to celebrate 500 years of Cuthbert Tunstall’s De arte supputandi libri quattuor

Friday 9 September 2022 - 12.00 to Saturday 10 September 2022 - 15.00
University of Durham

The British Society for the History of Mathematics and the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Durham University are hosting a two-day symposium that re-assesses the significance of Cuthbert Tunstall’s De arte supputandi libri quattuor, the first work devoted exclusively to mathematics to have been printed in England.

The meeting runs Friday lunchtime to Saturday lunchtime. Limited accommodation for up to 25 people on the Friday night is available at Durham University.

A free public lecture, available online or in person, will form part of the meeting on Friday evening.

What is included?

All conference registrations include sandwich lunch on Friday and Saturday, plus teas/coffees during breaks. Accommodation registration options include bed and breakfast on Friday night at Durham University.

Dinner on Friday night is not included, but we have booked a table at 'Uno Momento', an inexpensive local restaurant with a varied menu, for those who would like to eat together as a group.


The programme begins with lunch and a visit to the Tunstall exhibition at the Castle, and includes a public lecture by Travis Williams on Friday evening.

We have unfortunately had to cancel the Ushaw Library Tour on Saturday afternoon due to circumstances beyond our control, but have free tours of Cosin's Library and the Palace Green World Heritage Site instead.

PDF icon Programme & abstracts as of 4 September.pdf

Provisional Schedule (updated 4 September):

Friday 9 Sept

am: Arrival and accommodation checkin (for those who arrive earlyish)

12.15 Registration & Sandwich Lunch at Castle

13.15 Welcome & Introduction

13.30 Tunstall Exhibition tour

14.40 Transport provided to Mathematics

15.10 Satyanad Kichenassamy (Reims), Tunstall, Pacioli, and Tartaglia's English connections: facts and perspectives

15.55 Harald Gropp (Heidelberg), The earliest printed math books in Continental Europe

16.20 Tea/Coffee in Scott Logic theatre foyer

16.50 Eleonora Sammarchi (ETH Zurich), Mathematics during the Renaissance: language, concepts and social factors. The case study of Luca Pacioli’s Summa (1494)

17.35 Comfort break

17.45 Public Lecture: Travis Williams (Rhode Island), Tunstall’s Eloquent Arithmetic: Renaissance Mathematics as Pleasure Reading

18.45 Free time to go to Accommodation – 5 mins walk

19.45 Dinner at ‘Uno Momento’ (not included in registration fee)

Saturday 10 Sept

09.15 Deborah Kent (St Andrews), Mysteries in the margins: Annotations in De arte supputandi

09.40 Stefano Gulizia (Milan), ‘Illa […] insula volvit Aristotelem’: Anglo-Italian exchanges, Paduan Aristotelians, and Tunstall’s mathematics

10.25 Tea/Coffee in Scott Logic theatre foyer

10.50 Thomas Henderson (Durham), Before Tunstall: Arithmetic in England from the eleventh century to 1522

11.15 Fenny Smith (Independent), "...Ciceronian eloquence is fine, but not suitable for those who don't understand Latin." The earliest printed arithmetics in English

12.00 Sandwich Lunch

13.00 & 13.30 Optional Cosin’s Library Tours (transport provided)

14.00 Optional Palace Green Tour

15.00 Finish (at Palace Green)